President Donald Trump is expected to pardon former national security adviser Michael Flynn before leaving office, according to Axios.
Trump has told allies he plans to issue a pardon in the coming days. Flynn, who was fired by Trump in the first month of his administration, pleaded guilty in December 2017 of lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials.
Trump’s allies have alleged that Flynn was unfairly targeted by the Obama administration. But Flynn admitted that he urged Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to hold off on sanctions after the Obama administration imposed a series of sanctions in response to Russian election interference.
Flynn later lied to Vice President Mike Pence about the calls, which worried the DOJ that he could be susceptible to blackmail.
Earlier this year, Flynn’s lawyer Sidney Powell withdrew his guilty plea and a federal prosecutor appointed by Attorney General Bill Barr recommended charges be dropped because Flynn’s FBI interview was "conducted without any legitimate investigative basis."
The judge in the case has refused to drop the charges, prompting Flynn’s lawyers to file an emergency appeal that was rejected.
Trump may pardon Roger Stone:
Trump may also pardon former longtime adviser Roger Stone, who was sentenced to 40 months in prison after being found guilty of seven felonies, including witness tampering and lying to Congress, in special counsel Bob Mueller’s investigation.
Trump already commuted Stone’s sentence in July after Barr interfered in the case and had his allies recommend a lower sentence than the one recommended by the original legal team.
The move prompted nearly every prosecutor on the team to quit in protest.
Could Trump preemptively pardon Giuliani?
There have also been rumors that Trump could preemptively pardon personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who has been under investigation by federal prosecutors for over a year.
It’s unclear whether a president can issue a preemptive pardon.
President Gerald Ford issued a preemptive pardon after Richard Nixon resigned but the issue was never tested in court.
“If an ‘originalist’ interpretation of the pardon power was used, generic pardons would be invalid. The pardon must specify the crimes being pardoned,” said attorney Max Kennerly, adding that he expects the Supreme Court to hold up such a pardon because the six “originalist” justices are only “originalist” when it suits their viewpoint.